Letter from the New Division Chair

TurnerI am excited to assume the position of Chair of the Sustainable Communities Division. The Division’s dedicated and passionate group of members and volunteers have worked extremely hard to build it into one of the strongest Divisions within APA. Over the past few years, the Division has experienced tremendous growth in a number of areas and has shown strong leadership in promoting sustainability both within the Division and throughout APA. The Division is still fairly young and is in the process of further developing many of these programs and the progress so far has been remarkable.

Over the next couple of years my hope is that the growth of the Division will continue along its current trajectory. In terms of overall membership, we are currently close to 550 members and growing. We have over 4,200 LinkedIn Members, over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and over 1,400 e-bulletin subscribers. Our bi-weekly e-bulletin, which has outstanding content, was recently recognized at the 2015 National Conference at the APA and AICP Annual Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony. Congratulations to Stephanie Weigel and Beth Otto who work so hard to develop and publish the e-bulletin every couple of weeks. The Division also won the Annual Branding Award which recognizes our efforts to communicate through one brand, telling the sustainable planning story with one voice.

At the National Conference in Seattle we had an incredibly successful reception along with the Urban Design and Preservation and International Division. During this reception, we presented our Second Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability. We presented awards in eight different categories. The quality of applications was extremely high and the judging difficult, which is a testament to the increased focus on sustainable planning and design in general but also an acknowledgement of the Awards program. Thank you to Becky Bradley who worked so hard to administer the program and congratulations to all of the applicants and award winners. We are looking forward to continue to grow this program as well.

Exciting work is occurring with our pilot Sustainability Champions program. We currently have twelve Sustainability Champions in eleven states representing each APA region. Sustainability champions are currently working on their agendas for the following year and we hope to continue with the momentum of this program. Thank you to Anne Miller for facilitating this program.

Earlier this year the Division began our webinar program with a joint webinar with Audubon International. We are looking forward to providing additional webinars over the coming year for AICP credit. Thank you to Jenny Koch for organizing the webinars.

The Division’s sponsor program also continues to grow. Currently we have 10 sponsors including Clarion, Dewberry, Farr Associates, ICLEI, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, mySidewalk by MindMixer, Nitsch Engineering, Teska Associates, VHB, and WRT. Thank you to our current sponsors and we look forward to expanding our sponsorship program in the upcoming year.
Some of our most exciting work will continue to be led by Rob Kerns, our outgoing Division Chair. Rob has been highly involved with two very important and exciting initiatives, the update to the Sustainability Policy Guide and the Smart Cities and Sustainability Task Force. During the National Conference, Rob presented an update to the Sustainability Policy Guide to the APA Delegates assembly and is currently soliciting feedback on the document. He is also leading the Smart Cities and Sustainability Task Force which explores how technology can be applied to the field of planning and communities in general. We are extremely lucky to have Rob remain involved with the Division, and with these two important initiatives in particular.

I am extremely optimistic about the growth and future of our Division. We have great people involved that have brought us this far already. We are hopeful that more of you will join us as we continue to expand the Division and all of our initiatives. I truly feel that the value of membership in any organization is dependent on the level of involvement of individual members. Please feel free to contact me or any member of our executive committee if you have interest in getting more involved with the Division. We have opportunities for involvement with any of the initiatives I have described above.

I look forward to working with you all over the next couple of years. Please feel free to contact me directly at sturner@nitscheng.com if you have any comments, questions, or concerns.

E-Bulletin for 5/7/2015

In this issue:

  • Coastal data from the NOAA
  • Energy from Footfall Harvesting
  • More about 2015 Excellence in Sustainability Award Winners

Read the full issue online.

In this issue:

  • Happy Birthday, Earth Day!
  • What Color is your Roof?
  • Sustainable Los Angeles
  • And more!

Read the full report here.

Draft Planning for Sustainability Policy Guide – March 21, 2015

Draft Sustainability Policy Guide 3_21_15

Division Flyer for the 2015 APA National Conference

Pass along this flyer for the Sustainable Communities Division to your colleagues attending the 2015 APA National Conference in Seattle! It provides a summary of the division’s activities and conference events.


Sustainable Communities Division events at the 2015 APA National Conference

Heading to the APA National Conference in Seattle next week? Come see what the division is up to at the Business Meeting (details below) and check out all of the APA Sustainable Communities Division sessions and activities. We hope to see you there!

Division-Related Sessions/Activities 

Sunday 4/19

  • 7:00 am – 8:00 am SCD Business Meeting 
    [Location: Sheraton – Willow A]

    • See what the Division is up to and meet the new Chair, Scott Turner, Director of Planning at Nitsch Engineering in Boston. A light breakfast with coffee and tea will be provided.
  • 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Delegate Assembly Worksession for the Sustainability Policy Guide
    [Location: Sheraton – Grand Ballroom B]

    • Participate in a work session for the update of the Sustainable Policy Guide.
  • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm SCD Reception & Sustainability Awards
    [Location:Pike Place Market, Atrium Floor and Kitchen, Economy Building, 1433 1st Avenue, at the Corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street]

    • Come see the winners of the 2nd Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability and network with members for the Sustainable Communities, Urban Design and Preservation, and International Divisions in beautiful Pike Place Market.

Monday 4/20

  • 7:30 am – 8:45 am SCD Facilitated Discussion – Sustainable Neighborhoods Program
    [Location:Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 201]

    • Learn how to implement sustainability in your community. Representatives from the Cities of Lakewood and Denver, Colorado will present strategies for participation and for addressing implementation challenges.
  • 9:00 am – 10:15 am SCD Session – The Updated APA Sustainability Policy Guide
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 613/614]

    • The SCD is leading updates to the APA’s Policy Guide on Planning for Sustainability. Learn how this process will help address daily challenges in the planning profession in this session presented by representatives from the City of Alexandria and NeighborWorks America.

Check Out Events Held by SCD Sponsors


Sunday 4/19

  • 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm Financing Mechanisms for Community-Scale Solar
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 211]

    • Planners often struggle with promoting solar initiatives at the community level. Fortunately, new models are opening up a cleaner energy future to a wider range of community members. Explore financing mechanisms for community-scale solar initiatives, including group purchasing programs and community-based, shared-solar installations.

Teska Associates

Saturday 4/18

  • 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Best Practices in Energy Benchmarking
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 4C-3]

    • As energy benchmarking takes root in mid- and smaller-size cities, this facilitated discussion looks at best practices in implementing citywide energy benchmarking requirements. Examine successes and lessons learned in Seattle, New York, and Chicago that may be applicable to your community.
Sunday 4/19
  • 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Development Approval, Beyond One-Stop Shop
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 307/308]

    • Working relationships and negotiation skills are essential to development approval, not only for applicants but also for municipal staff members whose concerns may differ from those of the planner. See how to manage these sometimes divergent perspectives to create productive relationships as well as successful approvals and built projects.

Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLCSaturday 4/19

  • 10:30 am – 11:45 am TOD Transformations and Complete Neighborhoods
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 201]

    • Many cities are creating transformative plans for neighborhoods around transit — both pre-existing and new transit extensions. See how Oakland, California, and Honolulu are reinvigorating commercial corridors through mixed use development focused on retail and complete streets.

Monday 4/20

  • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Awards Luncheon
    [Location: Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) – 6ABC]

    • Celebrate the best of planning with featured speaker Julián Castro, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Under his leadership, HUD is working to give all people, regardless of their station in life, new opportunities to thrive. Listen as he shares his vision for HUD and the nation’s communities.

Thanks also to our sponsors Dewberry, VHB, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, and Nitsch Engineering.
Celebrate Our Award-Winning E-Bulletin and Branding Efforts

The APA Sustainable Communities Division will be receiving two awards during the APA and AICP Annual Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony. The E-Bulletin Award recognizes our efforts to share relevant and interesting information to our members. The APA President bestows one Branding Award per year to one division and one chapter recognizing efforts to communicate through one brand, telling the planning story with a strong and unified voice.

Tuesday, 4/21
9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. APA and AICP Annual Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony
At the 2015 APA and AICP Annual Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony, exceptional achievements by APA leaders and aspiring student planners will be recognized, questions will be taken from members, and the gavel will be passed to the new Presidents of APA and AICP.

Related Links

See you April 18-21, 2015 in Seattle, WA!

e-Bulletin for 3/26/15

In this issue:

  • 2015 APA Conference Events
  • How to design a Shared Backyard
  • Top 10 Cities for Wildlife
  • And so much more!

Read the full bulletin here.